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  • David Quick

Day 11 - Gazebos essential in the heat

Right from the start today was scorching, especially for anyone digging in a hole in the ground or cleaning and recording finds. We were so grateful to have the gazebos, which are as useful for protecting from the sun as they are from sheltering us from the rain.


After morning brief I called over at the Town Hall where it was confirmed that we can clear the site next Monday (not Sunday) and keep some of our equipment in the groundsmen's store until the Stroud Dig, rather than transport it back to Liss only to have to get it all out again a short time later.


Carl had done the geophys (resistivity) results of the garden at Lenten Street we scanned yesterday. Unfortunately as you can see below, they showed no features of interest so we decided not to dig a test pit.

The geophys plot from a Lenten Street garden sadly showed no features worth a test pit.

Over at Barton End the team closed down the second test pit and backfilled it before Carl set his phone camera on self-timer as they all posed for this group photo.

The team at Barton End posing after backfilling the test pit.

Here in the Gardens Keith was sitting with the finds team under the shade of a gazebo, looking through some of the latest finds.

Inspecting finds and sheltering from the sun.

Keith's family have been marvellous today, especially helping to look after children involved in the children's activities - of whom there were many. (All photos of children taken with parents' permission).

Trowelling and sieving for finds we have seeded in the children's test pit.

Digging seemed to be the most popular of the children's activities. There were many today because the schools have now broken up.

I spent much of the day giving guided tours of the site, as Keith is also seen doing here.

On the other side of the Gardens the dig team in the play area are seen being helped by Juliet in putting up a big gazebo to give them some much-needed shade.

Paul very kindly nipped over to his office in Oakhanger to borrow this very impressive Leica GPS unit (that uses American GPS satellites as well as Russian Glonass satellites) to obtain some extremely accurate co-ordinates of our test pits. A bit more accurate than the GPS in my watch!

Paul taking some very accurate GPS fixes of the features and test pits.

I don't know how he does it in the heat but there was a lot of physical effort being expended here in compacting the soil after we had backfilled Test Pit 4.

Peter working very hard in this heat!

In one of the other test pits the diggers had found what appears to be a child's gold bracelet with a fine chain and the child's name. I contacted Moira at the Herald to ask whether she could advertise the find so that perhaps we can return it to its owner who must have lost it a few years ago - provided they tell us the correct name on the bracelet.


We took plenty of drink breaks today and Carol can be seen sere enjoying a few minutes of respite in the shade.

Carol enjoying a brief rest in the shade.

Here are a few our our finds and dig team also enjoying a rest under the cover of the finds gazebo.

Having a chat during break time under the shade of the finds gazebo.

This finds tray is fairly typical of what was coming out of most of the test pits today - a mix of glass, bone, pot, CBM, nails, clay pipes and bakelite covering Roman through to the 20th Century.

A variety of finds covering a wide span of time periods.

Later in the day after this photo was taken Carl reckoned they had found in this test pit one of the two archaeology trenches from the 1988 dig, because he found foundations matching the drawings within the test pit.

Carl's team working on a new test pit.

Here are Carol and Peter looking pleased with themselves in Test Pit 5 which has produced some Romano-British material today including a fragment of Roman glass.

Over the Westbrooke Road end of the Gardens the team here digging on a 'hard' feature showing on the geophys plot have come down on another part of the foundations of the British Restaurant, seen behind them.

Uncovering another part of the foundations of the WW2 British Restaurant.

Finally, for me the most exciting find today was this cluster of large pieces of Romano-British pottery uncovered under some pieces of slate. Work is ongoing to see how big this layer is.

Lots of large pieces of Roman pottery found together in a layer.

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Alton Big Dig

East Hampshire's community archaeology group with 160 volunteer members working under professional archaeologist supervision, exploring sites at Alton, Colemore and Stroud near Petersfield.

Email: altonbigdig@gmail.com

East Hampshire Community Archaeology

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